Photo Keychains: A How-To

I posted a while ago about an adorable charm bracelet and necklace my mom gave me as a gift. She made charms featuring my favorite subject (my baby girl) and turned them into jewelry. This was totally up my alley, and it’s really versatile. So for Christmas, I made a few photo charm keychains using the Epiphany Craft line from Hobby Lobby

Each keychain took about 15 minutes to complete, and cost an average of $5 in supplies. Considering what a big impact they make, it’s a ton of bang for your buck! I didn’t include the cost of the punch itself in the budget, because I make a rule of not including the cost of the tool unless it’s a 1-time-use sort of thing. Since I’m positive I’ll be making a ton of charms in the future for different projects, the $20 for the punch itself isn’t a bad investment. But keep it in mind that there’s a “start up cost” to this project. Here’s how I made these suckers, without any other special tools:

• Epiphany Crafts punch (circle, square, or scallop)
• 1 pack of Epiphany Crafts Charms (10 charms per pack = 50 cents a charm)
• 1 pack of Epiphany Crafts Bubble Caps (35 caps per pack = 15 cents a charm)
• 1 pack of jump rings  (roughly 10 cents per keyring, these are about 1/5 of a cent each or less)
• 1 Keyring (about 10 cents, comes in multiples)
• Needle nose pliers
• Glue
• Pictures/paper
• Beads or old earrings (optional)

Step 1: Assemble your supplies

I started by reducing my images down to 1/2″ x 1/2″ in Photoshop and placing them all into a 4×6 image and printed it at Walgreens for 10 cents. I was able to fit 15 photos on that one layout. You can also use any photo-editing software to shrink it down, even Word works. My mom printed hers with her home printer, but since I’m always out of ink and too cheap to dish out the 20 bucks to get more, I just do it all at Walgreens. It’s quick and easy!

Step 2: Make the Photo Charms

I started by cutting my 4×6 into strips. Then you just slide it into the punch beneath the top ring. Once you have it in position, put the bubble on top. Set the guard in place, then close the lid and push it down really hard. It sounds easy, but they don’t provide clear instructions, so I had to call my mom 3 times to make sure I was getting it right, because I only bought just enough to do my project. After you punch it down (really hard) you lift up the lid and remove the guard, and your charm should pop out easily. If it doesn’t, try replacing the parts and punching again. I didn’t always cut the paper the first time through.

Step 3: Make your keychain

Once you have the photo part done, place a drop of glue on the charm, and push your photo bubble into place. I just added the glue for good measure. They pop into place pretty well, but I don’t want that cuteness going anywhere. Now it’s jump ring time. They come out of the package already split open, so all you have to do is slide them together, then use pliers to twist the two ends shut. You never want to open “out”, you want to do it all “side-to-side”. This will keep the jump rings from detaching. From here, you just keep adding jump rings together until you get an arrangement you like. Attach the charms to the main loop with more jump rings, then attach the keyring and you’re done!

I took apart a pair of earrings I never wore to add a little decoration to mine and my MIL’s, while on Nurse Friend Sam’s I found a Pandora charm from a few years back that worked with a jump ring. I also found some letters from magazines for her baby’s initial. Cute, huh? You can make charms from anything. Sentimental clothing, scrapbook paper, letters, photos, whatever! It really does give you a ton of room to play. And, who doesn’t love keychains? Now I just have to figure out what I can stick charms on so I can make more!